Published: January 9, 2016
OKLAHOMA CITY, OKLA. – The Oklahoma City Museum of Art has received 50 gelatin silver prints by American photographer Brett Weston (1911-1993) from the Brett Weston Archive and Christian Keesee Collection. The photographs were taken between 1937 and 1980 and consist predominantly of the natural and material abstractions for which the artist is known.
Photographs such as Lily Pad, Water, Europe (1968), Terraced Fields, Mexico (1964), and Sculpture, Europe (circa 1970) reference Weston’s extensive travels. He also spent a considerable amount of time in California and Hawaii, photographing images such as Lava, Hawaii (circa 1980) and Desert Landscape, California (circa 1950).
“Thanks to Mr. Keesee’s vision and generosity, the Oklahoma City Museum of Art has one of the largest collections of Brett Weston photography in the world,” said E. Michael Whittington, president and CEO.
Brett Weston, the second son of Edward Weston, began taking photographs on a trip to Mexico when he was 13, using his father’s Graflex camera. While there, he was exposed to the works of Diego Rivera, José Clemente Orozco and Tina Modotti, who influenced his sense of form and composition. He returned to California in 1926 and began to exhibit his own works, while assisting Edward in his portrait studio. Brett’s work received international attention after being included in the important 1929 “Film und Foto” exhibition held in Stuttgart, Germany.
His service during World War II included being stationed in New York City with the signal corps. He put his 8 x 10 and 11 x 14 cameras to good use when off duty and made important contacts in the photography world. After the war, he won a post service Guggenheim Fellowship which he spent shooting along the East Coast.
His work often incorporates the use of close-ups and abstracted details, displaying a preference for high-contrast imagery, reducing his subjects to pure form. Brett’s work became increasingly abstract in the 1970s as he began to more fully utilize a 2-inch format reflex camera.
Since 2004, Christian Keesee, who is recognized as an important art collector who purchased the entire inventory from the Weston estate, has donated 460 photographs from the Brett Weston Archive. The recent gift makes the Oklahoma City Museum of Art the second largest public collection of Brett Weston’s photography in the United States.
Oklahoma City Museum of Art is at 415 Couch Drive. For more information, 405-236-3100 or www.okcmoa.com.
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